Survey underscores shift from tape to disk

By Ann Silverthorn

—The results of a recent survey conducted by Peripheral Concepts and Coughlin Associates emphasize the ongoing shift from tape- to disk-based backup and recovery, which is being fueled primarily by users' demand for faster recovery times. The Backup and Archive User Perspective Report qualified 2,000 IT professionals for a screening survey. From that group, a selected population of 135 IT administrators or managers answered the full survey, with 70% of that group representing the small to medium-sized business (SMB) category.

The time available to perform a full backup has been decreasing steadily. In the recent survey, 32% of the IT managers reported that they had less than 60 minutes available for a full backup, compared to 15% in a 2004 survey.

"The shift to disk is also tied to the development of continuous data protection [CDP] and other technologies that use disk," says Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates. "CDP may be starting to impact the overall backup market. Right now, some companies perform traditional backups in conjunction with CDP, but if they conclude that CDP gives them the backup requirements they need, then CDP may become their [only type of primary] backup."

The ratio of online tape capacity to disk capacity has fallen from an average of about 2:1 in 2004 to 1.5:1 this year. About 68% of archived data is on tape today, compared to 75% in 2004.

According to the survey, backup reliability has moved down the scale in IT managers' data-protection problems, but the backup process is still considered unreliable by a large majority of the respondents. For example, 45% of the respondents say that more than 10% of their backups are unsuccessful.

For more information on the report, visit www.periconcepts.com or www.tomcoughlin.com

This article was originally published on February 22, 2006